Cardiovascular Problems Risk Factor: Low Vitamin D

Filed Under: Heart Health, Nutrients and Additives
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

It’s almost spring, and that’s means a welcome return of the sun and its warming rays. It also means a renewed opportunity for those in the snow belt (including us here in New England) to get more vitamin D—the sunshine vitamin that is needed to optimize your health.

It’s no news flash that vitamin D is needed for strong bones. We’ve been looking at bill boards, milk cartons, cereal boxes, and even calcium supplement labels brandishing “VITAMIN D fortification” in our faces for decades now.

One vitamin D basic that not everyone knows, though, is that there are two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is found in a lot of preparations, but is a less active ingredient than D3. Plus, vitamin D3, we are learning, has properties that make it a hormone as much as a nutrient.

That being said, there’s a new standard for what’s an adequate level for vitamin D. There is so much press, in fact, that the big “D” is practically being touted as the “wonder nutrient” of the century. So, is the buzz deserved?

Seems so! These days, good news about vitamin D is pouring out of the research tap. Practically on a daily basis, we’re hearing how it affects immune function, helps fight inflammation, supports the body’s ability to make insulin, puts a brake on cancer cell growth, and improves muscular function. We are also finding that many people are deficient because they don’t get enough sunlight, which converts cholesterol in the skin into vitamin D.

The vitamin D–heart connection is one of the newer revelations, and it certainly warrants attention and more study. A review published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care strongly suggests that a vitamin D deficiency could be a risk factor for cardiovascular problems.

The authors, from Johns Hopkins and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, state that low 25(OH)D levels (the standard biochemical marker to measure vitamin D in the blood) are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure levels, stroke, and congestive heart failure, as well as obesity and diabetes.

For more information on what you can do to combat cardiovascular problems, visit

DISCLAIMER: The content of is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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